An ambitious exploration of the self portrait from its inception in the late fifteenth century to the end of the twentieth, this ground breaking book moves beyond the constraints of art history. 'Self Portrait : Renaissance to Contemporary' allows us to share an intimate encounter with great artists of the past. The artist once stood before a canvas and gazed into a mirror; we, in turn, stand before the canvas looking at what the artist saw in the mirror. For a moment, time and space are collapsed and we find a reflection of ourselves in the artist's eyes. With, 140 images from collections all over the world, from Van Eyck to Chuck Close, this book includes pioneering essays on self portraiture by leading art historians as well as informative analyses of each of the paintings in the accompanying exhibition. The artists are shown constructing their identity, setting the scene for their life and times and above all showing themselves as creative individuals often captured in the act of conjuring their own image in the studio. Published to coincide with a new series on Channel 4, 'Self Portraits: The Me Generation' presented by art critic and broadcaster Matthew Collings and a major exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery, London from 20 October 2005 to 29 January 2006 and at the Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia from 17 February to 14 May 2006. Channel 4 will be screening a new three part series about 'Self Portraits: The Me Generation' to coincide with the publication and the National Portrait Gallery exhibition.